The Pros and Cons of Being a Military Brat

The Pros and Cons of Being a Military Brat

Artwork: Lauren Sink (Courtesy of Terri Moon Cronk/DOD)

When people hear the phrase “military personnel” their thoughts never go to the kids of the men and women who defend our country. Though the ultimate sacrifice is made by those who are enlisted, the kids also play a big part, give up many things in order to help keep our

country free. Though they aren’t on the front lines or in any physical danger, kids who have connections to branches of the military do a part in the freedom that anyone rarely recognizes. By adjusting to their parents’ long hours, developing resilience and self-reliance after every move to new location, or dealing with a parent overseas for a long time, they also play a role in helping to achieve our freedom.

Military life for most kids is exciting. It isn’t all bad, and many people can’t imagine their lives without the frequent moves and unique experiences that being in the military provides them with. Being a military kid is an adventure! Because of the many bases in Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, and other countries, military families have the opportunity to experience life in a variety of different places. This is a great way to experience other cultures and meet interesting people. After a life of moving around all the time, military kids have a huge list of friends in the U.S. and other countries that they will keep forever. ‘Military brats’ are able to brag about having a long list of places they have lived, and about having friends all over the globe. Not many people from civilian families can say that they have lived in five or more places and have friends in Germany or Japan.

There are a few big downfalls of this way of life that could either make or break the way that people view life being employed in a branch of the military. Moving is one of those disadvantages. Some people enjoy that part of the deal, as they can restart completely in a new location every few years and see a lot of new places, but for the most part moving goes on the cons list. An upside to all the moving is that the kids often develop the ability to quickly adapt to new situations. They adapt well to new environments, new schools, and new people.

Deployments, or long trips when military personnel are sent out to other bases, which are often overseas, to do work related to a war, or military conflict are particularly tough on families, and especially hard on kids. Imagine having a parent away from home, risking their life on a daily basis for an extensive amount of time. Depending on which branch someone is involved with deployments can last up to 12 to 18 months. Skype, Facetime, and other online resources make it easier for families to stay in contact during the course of the trip. Writing letters, e-mailing, and sending care packages are other ways of encouraging our troops and civilian personnel stationed overseas.Though these long trips have a big impact on the lives of the families at home, they often are most challenging for the men and women deployed. We always need to remember what they do to give us freedom.

The lives of kids in military families are exciting, adventurous, and heartbreaking. Everyone has a different way of looking at it, but most people enjoy growing up in a military family, and can’t imagine their lives any other way. So, that kid who you sit next to in History class who has a parent in the military? You should ask them about some of their experiences, where they have lived,what cool things have they gone through. There is a good chance they have some interesting stories to tell.